The Japanese government on Friday denied reports that the Tokyo Olympics are set to be canceled.
Japan’s Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Manabu Sakai, a government spokesman, told reporters there was no truth whatsoever in the stories that emerged earlier on Friday, stating the event was set to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Times said an unnamed senior member of Japan’s government had conceded defeat in the city’s efforts to stage the Games, admitting the focus is now on securing the event for Tokyo in the next available year, 2032.
However, the government is implementing thorough infection countermeasures in order to be able to host the Games, according to Sakai.
The Games were placed in increased jeopardy earlier this month when Tokyo declared a state of emergency due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases, and public opinion has swayed strongly towards canceling the event altogether.
On Thursday the International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, admitted “there is no plan B” over the staging of the sporting occasion, which is due to commence on July 23.
Some 15,000 international athletes are expected to convene in Tokyo ahead of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which will get underway on August 24.
Organizers are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks over whether the coronavirus risks have eased enough to let spectators attend the Games.
Previously, senior IOC member Dick Pound had suggested athletes should be at the front of the line for vaccines to boost the chances of the Olympics going ahead, though this prompted a backlash from the public, health experts and athletes themselves.
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